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Transmission & Drivetrain

Was Your Transmission Rebuild Dyno Tested?

Was Your Transmission Rebuild Dyno Tested? - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

Whether your transmission rebuild is working perfectly today, or it is already giving you problems, great thought has to be given to its dyno-testing because only a few companies go through the dyno-testing process.

Here’s what we’re getting at, it is essential to know if your transmission rebuild was dyno-tested for internal pressures and leaks, hydraulic, and system controls. The aim is to ensure it stands the test of time and does not break down when you least expect.

Re-manufacturers or transmission rebuild shops, for instance, will either give you a guarantee or assurance of a dyno test, but it is easy to confuse one with the other as an accurate measure of quality. While a guarantee says a cost-effective solution for your car needs was provided, a dyno test comes with a promise that the gearbox will not fail unexpectedly before reaching its full life expectancy.

This is because the transmission has been tested under operational conditions to ensure it has been built to work properly, reliably, and give you life expectancy. But more about that later!

What Is a Transmission Rebuild?

A transmission rebuild are those that have been dissembled entirely in a bid to replace its worn and damaged parts with new ones. The rebuilding process also involves the inspection of parts for possible wear occurring in the future. A transmission component that may be vulnerable is then replaced with a better part.

For this reason, a transmission rebuild offers the guarantee of quality, unlike a used transmission. They are also faster to find than a used transmission.

What Is Dyno Testing?

A dynamometer (dyno) testing is the use of specially-designed equipment to examine the state and operation of a transmission system if it meets factory pressure specifications at operating temperatures. The hours-long process is carried out by mounting a transmission on the dynamometer and applying a rotational force and other external forces on the transmission.

On the same note, if you’re bent on knowing an engine’s horsepower, then all it’ll take is to connect it to a dyno. Here, the dyno places a load on the engine and then measures the amount of power produced by the engine against the load.

Minor repairs can also be carried out while the dyno is on the machine. Other checks that can be carried out include:

    • Stall speed
    • Converter lockup
    • Transmission line pressure
    • Shift point and response downshift

Components of a Dyno Machine

A transmission dyno machine consists of a powerful electric motor, pressure gauges, and mountings, internal combustion motor, as well as computerized operator panel and readouts. The pressure gauge, for instance, helps to monitor the pressure readings in the transmission.

Setup of this nature measures the force, the moment of force (torque), and pressure of the transmission, and it can be explicitly used on transmissions whose mountings and measurements are specific to a transmission drive.

Similarly, the test simulates a real operating environment by examining the gearbox’s speed and gear changes, design speed range in each gear, among others.

Verification of a Transmission Dyno Testing

A dyno testing proves that the transmission’s gearbox is operating according to factory specifications within its full design speed and gear range. The latter can be assured since the test measures the transmission’s pressure, force, torque, temperature, and efficiency.

In the same vein, a technician carries out a post-operational check on the bolt torque and leaks. That being the case, a dyno test allows the transmission to undergo several operational conditions and measures the output of all each state.

Can Transmissions Fail a Dyno Test?

Most certainly, not all transmissions pass the dyno test due to several conditions. In a situation where the transmission does not perform under factory specifications, then it will not pass the dyno testing. When that happens, the transmission will be stripped down and rebuilt while it is in high gear in a bid to ensure it passes the dyno-test.

It is, however, not a bad thing that it failed the dyno-test since it informs that there is a need for an improvement which could see a more revamped transmission rebuild. That being the case, you can reap the full benefits of quality transmission rebuild, which is known to be reliable.

What If Your Transmission Is Your Business?

If you’re a transmission rebuild shop or company in the remanufacturing industry, you’ll agree that reputation matters, and it begins by giving your customers quality gearboxes. How else can you assure them that the transmission you’ve handed over to them won’t fail in operating conditions?

It is through dyno testing that will check if the transmission will fail under these conditions. A dyno test will also check the transmission’s quality thoroughly to ensure that it does not fail or potentially cause more damage to the engine.

Nonetheless, bypassing this step either to cut costs or time can negatively impact your reputation in the long run. And that could be bad for business given the return that will be made, the potential for a ruined reputation, and the extra work that will have to be put into the transmission rebuild.

How to Ensure a Quality Transmission Rebuilt?

A quality remanufactured gearbox designed by professionals is one that does not only come with a guarantee, but it has been dyno tested. If it passes the test, then it could even be better than a new transmission due to its high quality.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know why it is important for your transmission to be dyno tested, it can help you to determine if the faults prevalent in your vehicle emanated from the low-quality transmission.

In the same vein, you’re aware at this point that not only is a guarantee necessary, but a dyno testing since it takes it one step further to assure you that the gearbox has been tested to meet factory guidelines.

When each of these is in place, you can have a high-quality transmission that can stand the test of time and the full functionality of other components it is paired with. For businesses, it will save your brand’s name and help spread the word that a reliable remanufacturer is in town.

6 Tips on Buying Performance Transmissions Online

6 Tips on Buying Performance Transmissions Online - Gearstar

You may be torn between the decision of whether it is worth replacing or rebuilding a transmission. It may also become an important decision to make, especially if you need to get your car back on the road after its transmission has failed. However, there are several tips on buying high performance transmissions online, whether it is used or remanufactured. These tips will ensure that the rebuilder you settle for is one that saves you money in the long run.

Tips on Buying Performance Transmissions Online

There are several offers online for transmissions, which can make it a bit difficult to make a decision of which to settle. It’s even more challenging given the number of promises they all come with, and as such, you have to rely on the word of the manufacturer and the honest reviews of previous buyers.

Nonetheless, spotting a good performance transmission can be easier than you imagine by considering the following tips when buying a high performance transmission online.

1. Rely on a Local Transmission Rebuild Shop

Before heading online to search for the best performance transmission out there, your best bet would be to take a closer look at the local rebuild shop that offers a good warranty. Local shops come with a lot of benefits, and one of such is the promise of better service when its time to fall back on the warranty.

Let’s face it, while a small percentage of transmissions fail, there is still the potential for your used or rebuilt transmission to develop faults at some point. When a fault occurs when you’d least expected, a warranty becomes beneficial.

A local shop would be in a better position to fix it since the hassle to get it checked is less. Unlike an online store or out-of-state rebuilder, it would require repackaging and shipping it off just to get it checked.

2. Non-Rebuilt or Used Transmissions Are Cleaner Than Rebuilt Transmissions

When it comes to buying a performance transmission online, you need to consider if a used or rebuilt transmission is what you want. Before you make a choice, check this out!

Automakers design transmissions in clean environments, and for this reason, the fluid in a new transmission has fewer contaminants. It also means that a used low-mileage transmission from a trusted auto parts dealer or auto-recycler is cleaner and a cheaper alternative than an expensive built performance transmission that may have been opened on more than one occasion.

For instance, performance aftermarket companies that rebuild transmissions may not carry out the operation in clean environments. Also, the steps involved in tearing apart your transmission’s core and rebuilding it with replacement parts may be carried in an environment of this kind.

The result has been proven in a study that shows that for each time a transmission is opened and rebuilt, the fluid has higher contaminants than an Original Equipment (OE) manufactured transmissions.

Specifically, the test showed that such fluid could be 5 to 103 times dirtier (presence of contaminants), which could be higher depending on the transmission’s model. It’s worth noting that a transmission’s fluid is vital because it allows the power to be transferred from the engine to the pavement.

Thus, if the fluid is contaminated, it could cause bushing failure, burned clutches, worn valves, worn gears, accumulator wear, rubber seal, amongst other undesired effects. Contamination can be prevented in rebuilt transmissions by using more filters than what can be found in the OE transmission because once it is opened, it will be dirtier. In addition, you need to form the habit of checking the transmission fluid to see if there are any indication of problems.

3. Inexpensive Deal from a Local Transmission Shop/Rebuilder

Who doesn’t like return and loyal customers? Local transmission shops or rebuilders most certainly do. And that is why they may put in their best in rebuilding a transmission that can offer power and speed.

In the same vein, they are bound to offer you a sweeter deal compared to what you may find online. Look at it this way; they believe that if they do an excellent job at yours and for a good price, then there’s a high chance you’ll refer them to family, friends, colleagues, etc. There’s also the warranty benefits of sending the transmission out the door if it gives you any hassle.

An online seller, on the other hand, may already have hundreds of orders and would be trying its best to meet deadlines. In a rush, a lot can go wrong, and that would be at the expense of a transmission you are paying heavily for.

4. Prioritize Common Failure Points of the Transmission Family

It is quite easy to be carried away with horsepower and torque ratings, which is why online companies parade these terms as an accurate measure of a bulletproof transmission.

However, it is a marketing scheme because these are not the actual horsepower and torque ratings that the transmission can handle. An accurate measure can be ascertained after a reliable or valid test has been carried out to know if the horsepower and torque ratings specified are on par with what the transmission can handle.

On the contrary, the latter may not be so because not every transmission gets tested in a vehicle – because the cost and time of removing and replacing the transmission in each engine would finally take a toll on the company.

Online re-sellers also parade with the same notion that these transmissions have been dyno-tested or road-tested when in actuality, they haven’t. The big idea is, a good number of performance transmissions ship untested and there is no standard for testing transmissions, at the moment.

To that effect, resort to a local rebuilder who will fix the common failure points and also give you the warranty that it will stand the test of time within a specified period.

5. The Hype of Performance Aftermarket Companies

Performance aftermarket companies need to sell their built transmissions and if that means hyping what it can do a little, no problem. But what happens when it’s at your expense, then a lot can go wrong.

On the contrary, you need to be realistic and know what is possible even when you are promised a 700HP. It is not going to handle 700HP, even though it says so.

Look at it this way, GM an original equipment manufacturer may have spent millions on building the 4L60E and transmission family. Such a transmission may have been tailored to operate to its full potential at a particular horsepower and torque rating.

Performance aftermarket companies, on the other hand, will work on the same transmission which millions of dollars have been showered on its design, but in this case, change a few parts with low-quality hardware.

Also, not all parts are changed, which means that they have not all been toughened to handle 700 HP. In the end, what you get is a transmission where specific common failure points have been handled but without offering 700 horsepower from a 350 horsepower.

6. Check Out Customers’ Reviews and Recommendations

If you’re bent on buying a performance transmission online, you will do well to go through the hundreds of customer reviews and recommendations. You’ll be able to judge if the transmission’s specs have been hyped or if it can deliver high performance in real-life.

Your ability to know between either of these lies in the honest review of happy and displeased customers. The hard truth is, most online aftermarket performance transmission is based on hype and not facts.

Thus, you should know if the transmission can give you a performance equivalent to money’s worth, something close to it, or you’re better off staying away from it in the first place. Nonetheless, these reviews can be attributed to certain factors:

    • The level abuse the transmission will be susceptible to and if it is powerful enough to withstand.
    • How the transmission has been built to be bulletproof based on the specifications that have been outlined, and in some cases, it has not been built to meet what has been stated.
    • Sending the customer a used transmission that has been repainted instead of one that has been rebuilt to improve its performance.
    • The customer’s unrealistic expectations and sometimes based on the hype they have been led to believe.

These aside, some online and offline rebuild shops are more than willing to give you a list of customers they have sold used transmissions to. You could obtain the list and make findings for yourself if these customers were satisfied with the results they achieved.


These are the tips on buying high performance transmissions online, which will enable you to choose from a wide range of options.

Whether it’s a local rebuild shop or online aftermarket company you’ll settle with for a custom high performance transmission, you can look over the hype and know the real-life performance to expect from the rebuilt transmission.

In the end, it should be a transmission that can deliver an acceptable level of performance.

Blown Transmission? Guess Again, It Could Be Your Converter

Blown Transmission? Guess Again, It Could Be Your Converter - Gearstar Performance

Modern cars have become more complicated from what they were before due to the launch of new technologies. These technologies have led to features such as dual-clutch, CVT’s, semi-automatic, and automatic transmissions, transmissions built with as high as ten gears, among many others.

Unlike manual transmissions that can disconnect the engine from the transmission using a clutch, the same cannot be said for automatic transmissions. The reason is, automatics are devoid of clutches and instead, rely on the torque converter to keep the engine turning while the gears and wheels in the transmission come to a halt.

Thus, the torque converter in cars with automatic transmissions is very important in any vehicle today and if your transmission is blown or you’re experiencing symptoms of a blown transmission, then the culprit could be its converter as we’ll soon take a look at.

What Is a Torque Converter?

A torque converter is a coupling that helps in the transfer of power or torque from the car’s engine to its transmission. Also, this coupling relies on fluid hydrodynamic in a bid to enable an independent spinning of the engine without the help of the transmission. For instance, an idling engine when a driver gets to a stoplight reduces the torque that is passing through the torque converter.

However, this amount of torque is still enough to require pressure on the brake to stop the car from creeping. More power or torque is then transmitted to the wheels when engine’s speed increases and more fluid is pumped into the torque converter as a result of the brake being released, and the gas is stepped on.

Basics of Torque Converters

As already stated above, the torque converter enables power or torque to be transmitted from the engine to the transmission. The torque converter consists of three parts, and these are the impeller, turbine, and stator. Let’s take a closer look at each:

1. Impeller

The impeller or pump is the first significant component of a torque converter. This unit contains fluid, and it spins simultaneously with the engine’s crankshaft. As the impeller spins faster, more force is exerted on the fluid, which enables it to flow through it quicker and harder.

2. Turbine

The next assembly of blades within the torque converter is the turbine, and it is located opposite the impeller. On the other hand, the force exerted by the impeller causes fluid to flow into the turbine, and the latter begins to rotate as the fluid touches its blades.

It is worthy to note that this fluid is moved from the outer part of the turbine to its inner part repeatedly before it is finally transferred to the impeller. This constant movement of fluid from the impeller to the turbine and back to the impeller helps to create a fluid coupling. Also, the cycle of spins between the impeller and turbine helps to create torque.

However, the fluid flows in the opposite direction compared to when it was transferred from the impeller. As a result, this brings about the need for the direction to be reversed and that can be made possible using the stator.

3. Stator

A stator is a set of blades that are located between the turbines on the transmission shaft. The stator blades are positioned at angles that will enable a fluid’s direction to be reversed once it flows through it, and then be resent to the impeller.

A reversal in direction will slow down the fluid while increasing its torque. Also, when the car halts, the one-way clutch of the stator allows it to stop spinning, which stops the hydrodynamic circuit.

Root Cause of a Blown Transmission

A blown transmission can largely be attributed to torque converter problems which should not come as a surprise given how important this unit is in your car. The good thing is, getting a replacement for your torque converter is quite easy even though the bone of contention is being able to spot where the problem is emanating from.

Nonetheless, this should not be something to worry about since the outlined below will give you an idea of the potential issues in your car that can cause your transmission to blow up, leading to expensive repairs. Some of these signs that you need your transmission checked include:

1. Overheating

Overheating is never a good thing for your car since it is the first obvious sign that the transmission fluid is low and torque converter problems. That being the case, it can cause the torque converter to overheat and prevent it from transferring torque from the engine to the car’s transmission.

You’ll know it’s the effect is gradually taking a toll when you experience poor acceleration. On the long run, overheating of the torque converter can lead to a degradation of the transmission.

2. Shaking and Shuddering

Your car is meant to move smoothly and swiftly; however, if it begins to shake and shudder, it calls for serious attention. You can quickly tell when you’re driving on a smooth road, and it still feels like you are stepping on small bumps.

What could be the problem at this point? The shaking and shuddering could be as a malfunctioning in the lockup clutch. That being the case, you need to check that your lockup clutch is not worn out to eliminate any difficulties in moving from acceleration to direct drive.

3. Slipping

Another torque converter problem that could affect your seamless driving is its damaged fin or bearing. Slipping can also be as a result of too much or insufficient fluid in your transmission.

When this happens, there could be delays in transmission shifting it the transmission could slip in and out of gears. These problems can mostly be linked to the inability of the engine torque to be converted efficiently to hydraulic pressure required to shift gears within the transmission.


Advancements in technologies may have led to new features in automatic transmissions; nonetheless, the torque converter has always been an active part of these cars to enable the transfer of torque. That is why a car problem you’re experiencing now, especially a failure in your transmission can be pinned on the converter.

Possible signs such as overheating, shaking, slippage, among others is a dead giveaway that your converter needs to be checked. Consequently, it’ll save you the time, effort, and money, of trying to discover what the issue could be while you spend more time trying to resolve it in the best possible way.

How to Identify a Mopar 727 Performance Transmission

How to Identify a Mopar 727 Performance Transmission - Gearstar Performance

The advent of several transmissions since the launch of automobiles means there are a whole lot of them in 2019 and many more can be expected in years to come. However, some like the Mopar 727, which is known for its strength and easy adaptability in just about any car makes it essential to understand how to identify Mopar 727 performance transmissions. It is needful given the many characteristics and advantages that can still be derived from using a transmission that is three decades old.

The Mopar 727 is also an excellent transmission to install into your Chrysler, AMC, or GM car or truck; thus, it can serve Chrysler and non-Chrysler applications. That being the case, we’ve outlined the unique physical and operational features of the Mopar 727, which will enable you to differentiate it from a wide range of transmissions that are also contending for attention.

What Is the Mopar 727 Performance Transmission?

The Chrysler A-727 transmission, also known as the TorqueFlite 8 units is a three-speed transmission that was launched around 1956. It was mainly used in Mopar cars with larger engine size from 1962 and also found a use case in certain vehicles as their original equipment component.

The A-727 transmission is robust and highly adaptable in several applications which can be attributed to its widespread use in about 30 years. Its strength meant it could be used in Chrysler cars and non-Mopar applications such as work trucks as well as high-performance vehicles like sports cars.

Within these vehicles, the Mopar 727 could handle engines whose horsepower went as high as 450hp which was an attestation of its strength. It can also work well in higher torque or higher rpm, and most notably, cars in which a bulletproof automatic transmission is required.

To that effect, if you decide to use this transmission today, then it will begin with knowing how to identify a Mopar 727 performance transmission.

Easy Ways to Identify 727 Performance Transmissions

Upon the launch of the earliest version of the A-727 in 1956, it featured a cast-iron case. However, from 1962, there was a switch to the use of aluminum cases. Thus, you’ll find one of the latest A-727 transmission using an aluminum case just like the Mopar vehicles between 1962 to the late 1980s. The A-727 is also unique from its oddly shaped oil pan with 14 bolts.

Other features that will enable you to identify the Moper 727 performance transmission are:

1. Transmission Bands and Shift Ratios

There are two transmission bands on the A-727 where one band serves for reverse and the other for kick down. This transmission’s shift ratios were:

    • First gear: 2.54:1
    • Second gear: 1.45:1
    • Third gear: 1.0:1
    • Reverse gear: 2.21:1

2. Adoption

A lookout for when the release year of the Mopar vehicle can help you ascertain if it is using an A-727 transmission or not. For instance, Mopar vehicles between 1962 and the late 1980s began to use the aluminum-cased A-727. The aluminum-cased A-727 was adopted in performance vehicles from other manufacturers from the mid-1960s. Similarly, the Jensen Interceptor and its Chrysler 383 engine took advantage of the Torque Command “8” which was released in 1956 as its automatic transmission.

3. Bell Housing

Depending on the engine you want to install the A-727 transmission in, it is needful to get one whose dimension or bell housing is right for your vehicle. An 18-inch bell-housing bolt pattern was used by small-block V-8s while an 18.875-inch bolt pattern was used by Chevrolet big-block applications. The AMC V-8 engines were drilled to the right small-block bell housing bolt pattern, and their rear output shaft can be a perfect fit to existing Jeep transfer case assemblies.

4. Transmission Upgrades

There were several upgrades to the A-727s which makes it needful to select the correct year of the donor car whose transmission you’ll be installing in your vehicle. That being the case, A-727s were push button shift whose push buttons were located on the dash from 1962 to 1964.

Few units from 1965 were still cable activated, but a majority of transmissions from 1965 and newer ones have a rod-style shift linkage. Between 1962 to 1965, transmissions featured a rear flange instead of a yoke linked to the driveshaft with a universal joint. Transmissions from years above this range featured a standard splined shaft using a basic slip yoke and cross-type U-joints.

5. Flexplate

Minor changes were still made to the A-727 after 1966, and one of such was the modification in flexplates in 1968 as well as the inclusion of a lockup converter in 1978. It is, therefore, important to select the right flexplate since those from 1968 and after came with flexplates with a larger center hole compared to those before 1968. In the same vein, a torque converter from 1966 and years after that, will not interchange into torque converters from years before 1966.

6. Year

An A-727 can also be identified as being a 1978 and newer lockup units just by examining the transmission’s input shaft. It was built with a lockup if the shaft is smooth at its last half inch, on the contrary, if it is splined to the end of the input shaft, then it is a non-lockup transmission. Pre-lockup converters before 1978 are also weighted as A, B, and C weights, and there’s no need to interchange either of these when trying to select the correct torque converter.


After taking a look at the easy ways to identify a Mopar 727 performance transmission, choosing the right one to install in your vehicle becomes a breeze. The A-727 is worth it when consideration is given to the fact that it’s been over 30 years since its first release; however, it can still offer strength and support high-performance power.

Whether its a replacement you’re looking for your Chrysler, AMC, or GM car, the A-727 is easy to find. All it’ll take is to tell it apart from a wide range of transmissions in the market using the specifications we have outlined above.

What’s more, selecting an A-727 that is right for the application it will be used in, takes it the extra step to ensure the level of performance you get is an impressive one. Thus, it is entirely up to you to make a choice from several depending on the year they were made whether they are older or newer versions of the Mopar A-727.

Ford C4 and C6 Transmissions: What Are the Differences?

Ford C4 and C6 Transmissions: What Are the Differences? - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

Ford’s C4 and C6 3 speed automatic transmissions are similar in operational characteristics; however, there are still unique differences between the C4 and C6 transmissions. Starting from the year they were produced, their specifications, as well as their applications, these two transmissions are worth comparing side by side.

For instance, while C4 transmissions may have been launched and further designed in different versions between 1964 and 1981, C6 transmissions found application in certain vehicles around 1966 to 1996. The list goes on and on, but there are also similarities between these two and the most obvious is that they are automatic transmissions that change gears automatically unlike manuals.

Nonetheless, let’s take a closer look at the differences between Ford C4 and C6 transmissions.

Differences Between Ford C4 and C6 Transmissions

The Ford C4 and C6 transmission specs show that there are apparent differences between either of these. The peculiar disparity between both include:

    • Year of production
    • Weight
    • Internal components
    • Evolved versions
    • Fluid type

1. Year of Production

The Ford C4 is also called the Dual-Range Cruise-O-Matic, FMX transmission and it was produced around 1964 and was used until 1981. Specifically, the vehicles that came with a C4 transmission were the Ford Bronco between 1973 to 1977, and the Ford F-series between 1965 to 1981. Here’s what it looks like:

    • Ford Bronco (1973–1977)
    • Ford Cortina (1974–1982 )
    • Ford F-Series (1965–1983)
    • Ford Fairlane (1964–1970)
    • Ford Fairmont (1978–1983)
    • Ford Falcon (1965–1970)
    • Ford Granada (1975–1982)
    • Ford LTD (1975–1980)

The C6 automatic transmission, on the contrary, was launched by Ford around 1966 and it found use cases until 1996. It was produced at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant, Michigan and in the mid-1980s, its production was transferred to a Sharonville Transmission Plant, Ohio.

Also, the C6 transmission was used in high-performance vehicles as well as trucks with more significant engines such as Ford trucks, passenger cars, and Lincoln cars. The C6 was evident in the Ford F-Series between 1967 to 1996 as well as the Ford Bronco between 1978 to 1991. In the latter version, five bell housings were used, and these are:

    • Diesel bell housing.
    • FE bell housing for the Ford FE family engines.
    • The Cleveland bell housing in the 351M, 400, and Ford 385 engine family.
    • Windsor bell housing for all Windsor engines, 300 “Big Six” I-6, and the 351 Cleveland.
    • Mel 462 used in 1966 to 1968 462 V-8 Lincoln Continental as well as 1968 to 1970 460 V-8 Lincoln Continental.

2. Weight

Ford C4 is a medium-duty transmission judging from its lightweight of 130 lbs dry w/ torque converter and its design with an aluminum case. So, if you’re wondering how heavy is a C4 transmission, then it does not pack so much load at all.

On the other hand, C6 transmission is a heavy-duty transmission that can handle much load. Like its predecessor, it featured a lightweight at 175 lbs dry w/ converter and an aluminum case. It is believed that by today’s standards, a transmission of this nature has a high-level parasitic loss as a result of its weight and size.

3. Internal Components

The C4 can be split into three sections, which are the transmission case, bell housing, and the tail housing.

On the other hand, the C6 identification is the Borg-Warner flexible shift band and the Simpson planetary gearset it features. Within its case are a one-piece casting and a bell housing.

Upon the C6’s launch, it featured 17.4 inches, 7 inches, and 14 inches tailshaft housing lengths for the Lincoln cars, Ford trucks, and Ford passenger cars, respectively.

4. Evolving

A look back at the C4 and C6 transmissions when they were launched shows that there have been other variants since then. An instance is the case of the C4, which featured a 0.788 inch, 24 spline input shaft between 1964 to 1969.

However, upgrades to the C4 in 1979 brought about a 26 spline, 0.839-inch shaft. The same was evident in 1971 when the input shaft was updated to feature 24 splines at the clutch hub and 26 splines on the torque converter side.

5. Fluid Type

Transmission fluid is essential in a car to allow the components to move swiftly while at the same time, ensure there is no overheating or slippage. Accordingly, the kind of transmission fluid the C4 uses is the Type F automatic transmission fluid. In contrast, the transmission fluid supported by the C6 is the Type FA automatic transmission fluid.

6. Modern Use

The contemporary use of the C4 and C6 transmissions are for different purposes. While both are used by hot rod and drag racers enthusiasts, the C6 has gained favoritism when it comes to offroad driving. The C4 is not quite suitable for off-road since it cannot handle as much power as the C6 and as such, it was mostly used in cars and not trucks.

7. Gear Ratios

The C4 gear ratios are:

    • First Gear 46:1
    • Second Gear 46:1
    • Third Gear 00:1
    • Reverse Gear 20:1

The C6 Gear ratios are:

    • First 46:1
    • Second 46:1
    • Third 00:1
    • Reverse 00:1

Similarities Between the Ford C4 and C6 Transmission

While there is a significant disparity between the C4 and C6 transmission, it’s worth noting that there are slight similarities between both. Some of these include:

    • Transmission speed
    • Simplicity
    • Upgrades
    • Gearset
    • Aftermarket support

1. Transmission Speed

The C4 and C6 are both 3-speed automatic transmissions designed by Ford.

2. Simplicity

Both transmissions’ design spoke simplicity and durability. The C6, for instance, was admirable for its simplicity, strength, and reliability. It is even more durable than the C4, which makes it more expensive. As of today, it is still a popular choice for motorsports such as off-road and drag racing vehicles.

3. Upgrades

The C4 and C6 transmissions later had better versions of themselves and what was also noticeable between the duo is that they then featured an overdrive gear.

Thus, if you’re wondering if a C4 transmission has an overdrive, it most certainly does today. The overdriven gears were not present when they have launched as well as a lockup torque converters which are now evident in new transmission for boosting fuel economy.

Similarly, the response to questions like how many gears does a C6 transmission has, would be three. What this boils down to, is earlier versions of these transmissions are entirely different from their later iterations.

4. Gearset

The C4 and C6 transmission upon their launch both depended on a Simpson planetary gearset.

5. Aftermarket Support

Given that it has been decades since the launch of the C4 and C6, a car enthusiast can get excellent aftermarket support for both transmissions.What’s also worthy to note, is that they have been revised to handle torque better than their older versions.

How to Tell a C4 From a C6 Transmission

A closer inspection of the C4 and C6 shows a similarity in physical appearance. However, they can be told apart by considering the following:

    • Determine the number of bolts securing the transmission’s oil pan to the transmission itself. On the C4, there will be 11 bolts while on a C6, there will be 17.
    • Ascertain where the drain plug is situated at the transmission pan. If the plug is at the side of the transmission’s pan, it is the C6 but on the bottom means it’s a C4.
    • Determine where the speedometer driver gear is located. If it is on the driver’s side of the extension housing, it is the C6 but a C4, if it is at the rear of the transmission at the point, then driveshaft is connected to the transmission’s back.


Judging from the internal and external components, there are apparent differences between the C4 and C6 transmissions. These differences will enable you to tell a C4 from a C6 transmission despite their similar appearance. There have also been upgrades to either of these two in order to improve their level of performance from what they could offer as at when launched.

Nonetheless, in the present year and beyond, they’ll still be noteworthy as some of the most popular transmission ever designed by Ford Motors. Their performance also has led to the creation of modern automatic transmissions which car fanatics have come greatly to rely upon.

5 Signs Your Transmission Fluid Is Low

5 Signs Your Transmission Fluid Is Low - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

Do you own a car and are you aware that your transmission can encounter problems? If that’s a no, then be informed that there are sure signs that your transmission fluid is low and knowing these symptoms can help you to avoid issues in the long run.

You may be wondering, what happens if the transmission fluid is low? The hard truth is that for each time you delay to top up the fluid, it is one step closer to totally damaging your car’s transmission, its engine, and other essential components.

The effect may be evident whether you’re aware of the early symptoms of low transmission fluid or not. For this reason, we’ve outlined the low transmission fluid symptoms, which will enable you to know when you need transmission fluid.

Why Is Transmission Fluid Important?

It may just be fluid and not some expensive component of your car, but why is transmission fluid so important? Now, if that question has crossed your mind time and again, here’s what you should know.

1. Facilitates the Transfer of Power

The transmission’s ability to transfer power from the engine to the pavement can be attributed to its fluid. In the same vein, the torque converter relies on automatic transmission fluid (ATF) to form a hydraulic circuit which enables it to transmit the rotational force between the engine and the transmission.

2. Cooling the Transmission

As the transmission operates for a long time, it tends to create heat. However, the fluid helps to absorb this heat and expels the heat through the radiator. This fluid helps to reduce slippage or the tendency for it to occur.

3. Enable Smooth Operation

Generally, the transmission fluid enables the car’s internal components to run smoothly. That is evident in that fact that when it runs low, these components can wear and tear and even to a level where they are beyond repair.

Signs of Low Transmission Fluid

Outlined below, are the symptoms of low transmission, which will ensure that you do not keep driving when the fluid is low. Several users have asked if there is a low transmission fluid light that would’ve quickly notified them that it’s time for a refill.

While there’s no outright yes or no to that, nonetheless, being on the lookout for these significant symptoms can save you a lot of time, energy, and money, of having to repair car parts. They include:

    • Warning light.
    • Transmission overheating.
    • Difficulty in shifting gears.
    • Transmission fluid leakage.
    • Generation of unusual sounds.
    • Transmission slipping problems.

1. Transmission Overheating

If your transmission begins to overheat, it’s a clear sign that trouble is brewing. It won’t come as a surprise if the car’s transmission ends up failing as a result of this ineffective transmission of fluid. This is because the fluid aids in the lubrication of components to reduce friction.

On the other hand, it is recommended that your fluid temperature should not go higher than 200 degrees since it also impacts negatively on the vehicle’s performance. Also, consider the following temperature which could damage the transmission:

    • 220 degrees: Varnish begins to form on metal parts.
    • 240 degrees: Seals start to harden.
    • 260 degrees: Clutches and the transmission bands start to slip.
    • 295 degrees: Urgent need to call a tow truck.

2. Difficulty in Shifting Gears

Car problems can also stem from the sudden hard shifting of gears. While the sign might be most prevalent in manual transmissions which have led to the term “low manual transmission fluid symptoms,” there’s no saying that hard shifting cannot occur in automatics. The difficulty in shifting gears in automatics is evident when the car accelerates less smoothly compared to its mode of operation in the past.

That is to say; there is a sluggish response or delay (two to three seconds) in engaging the Drive or Reverse gears. It’s also possible for these gears to be unresponsive, which can also be linked to the low transmission fluid pressure.

For manual transmissions, the gears may respond for a while since they do not require oil pressure to function and rely on direct drive system to move between gears. Nonetheless, there will come a time where the transmission overheats to the point that the gears begin to melt. One way to prevent this is to ensure that the oil in the gearbox is sufficient. It must also be clean and free of any dirt that could be transferred into internal parts.

3. Transmission Fluid Leakage

Another sign of low fluids or low ATF is transmission fluid leakage. You can tell if the fluid is leaking from your car by carrying out frequent checks underneath the vehicle as well as the engine’s compartment. A bright red color leaking will tell you that something’s not right.

It’s even worse if it has a dark color and smells burnt, then there’s a need to get help immediately. That is because if the leakage is left unattended to, more content will be discharged, which affects the way the internal components are lubricated. Less fluid at some point will create noise as the car shifts between gears and could take it one step further to need a new set of gears as a replacement.

4. Generation of Unusual Sounds

Vehicles are meant to operate noiselessly, but that may not be the case if you’re running low on the fluid. It means the bands and clutches will be poorly lubricated as they rub together.

Similarly, if there is a loose transmission torque converter, it can also result in the production of noise, which may be similar to a rhythmic pounding. There’s also a grinding clatter that can be heard while in a neutral position and it is a sign of low transmission fluid. Any of these sounds produced calls for a check-up of the transmission to prevent future problems.

5. Transmission Slipping Problems

Poor synchronization between the vehicle and the engine could cause transmission slipping. This is when an engaged gear slips and as such, does not stay in the mode which it was selected. What happens here is the engine speeding up without the car itself responding.

As a consequence, it should not be ignored since it could cause problems in gear engagement. This and many more make driving on low transmission fluid, not advisable. Another issue is having residue build-up in the fluid, which could retard the free flow of fluid.

6. Warning Light

The fastest way to detect a problem in your car is to take note of the “check engine light” and if it’s notifying you that there could be a minor issue. Even if the car seems to be in great shape, it’s not full proof that there could be no issues somewhere, which is why the light notification should be given importance.

On the other hand, it may be nothing to worry about if it’s the only sign that is evident because some check engine light problems may relate to anti-pollution systems. This means the car can still be in drive without necessarily being stopped. However, if a smell is perceived and noise is heard while the light is blinking, it’s better to stop the car and have it towed to the nearest auto repair shop.

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid Level

If your vehicle is having any of the listed above signs of needing transmission fluid, then you need to confirm that the culprit is actually a low fluid or debris in the oil. All you have to do is use a dipstick to check if oil’s level is in line with the level that has been specified in the car’s manual.

The use of the dipstick can be carried out on a monthly basis. One more way to carry out an examination is to determine if the fluid’s color has changed, or it has a bad smell. Finally, you can change the fluid if its color changes to brown or black, and it has an excessive burning smell.


These signs that your transmission fluid is low are a sure banker since they can help you preserve the life of your car. On the contrary, not being aware of what could potentially damage your much-admired ride could do more harm than good to it.

That being the case, each of the symptoms should be prioritized, and if one or more are encountered, then you need to seek the professional help of a mechanic. They’ll be in the right position to help you out and get your car into good condition again.

And whatever it takes, do not ignore these signs or procrastinate hoping that you can manage the vehicle till the end of the week or months end. The earlier your transmission fluid is restored, the better.

Building the Perfect AOD Transmission

Building the Perfect AOD Transmission - Gearstar Performance

There are simple, yet effective ways to build the perfect automatic overdrive (AOD) transmission through the use of off-the-shelf components and aftermarket kits.

That may come as a surprise since the AOD was not intended to serve as a performance transmission given that Ford Motor Company had begun fitting them in a bunch of Lincoln Town Cars, and vans.

However, then came the AOD-E, an electronically controlled transmission instead of the cable-modulated AOD which car enthusiasts had so many issues with.

AOD-E was not the last member in the series because the 4R70W was later launched.

Thus, between 1980 and 1991, there were upgrades in the AOD family which makes the AOD today more than ready to be boosted for a higher level of performance. So, whether it’s the AOD, AOD-E, or 4R70W, they are all hardy transmissions that could still use some level of improvement in order to attain fuel economy and performance.

Let’s take a quick look.

The Advent of AOD Transmissions

AODs were launched by Ford around 1980s as a new transmission generation.

AOD, the first member of the family is a mechanically-modulated transmission featuring a throttle-valve cable (TV) whose role is to modulate shift timing, shift firmness, and line pressure.

Asides from the AOD, the AOD-E and 4R70W were later launched and the duo are quite similar in their mode of operation. This is because both transmissions are electronically controlled and as such, they do not have a TV cable which makes the engine and transmission operate cohesively.

AOD Transmission Types

The later AOD types may be electrically controlled, but there is still a notable difference between the AOD-E and 4R70W transmission. What sets either apart is their gear ratio.

The 4R70W as an improved version of the AOD-E comes with better gearing which can significantly increase the acceleration of a small or big-block Ford.

Similarly, the transmission has been specially tailored for the 4.6L Modular V-8 (Ford Modular engine) and as such, it eliminates the snappy low-end torque in a small- or big-block Ford.

Limitations of the AOD Transmission

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the AOD came with its own bone of contention. Some of these limitations were:

1. Not Wide-Enough Overdrive Band

The AOD transmission has a 1.50-inch-wide Overdrive band as well as a Reverse clutch drum which could break down under strain and may not fit securely.

These were maintained until the launch of the ’93 Lincoln Mark VIII which showed a major improvement given that it featured a wider 2.0-inch Overdrive band and Reverse clutch drum.

2.  Pecky TV Cable

Asides this, another limitation was a throttle-valve (TV) cable function that was evident in the AOD upon its launch.

Let’s take the TV cable, for instance, it had to be adjusted on the spot using a pressure gauge with a test drive and intuitive feel that it’s time to shift in order to prevent burning up the transmission. The TV cable’s build was connected to the throttle movement which determined the line pressure depending on the throttle position.

3. Split-Torque

In the same vein, the split-torque 60/40 function works with a secondary input shaft which is removable but linked to the torque converter’s shell and forward clutch.

There’s another shaft which serves are the primary input shaft and works with the torque converter’s turbine in First, Second and Reverse gears.

The engine’s torque, in this case, has been split since 40 percent is passed to the torque converter while the remaining 60 is passed to the smaller input shaft in Third gear.

Building the Perfect AOD

It is entirely possible to build the perfect AOD transmission just by changing some of its internal components and using aftermarket kits. Envision the AOD as a core that needs to be filled with the right parts to boost its performance.

But first, you need to be on the lookout for AODs that were launched towards the end of the 1980s since these ones came with an improvement in their internal gear-train.

As a result, the teething problems in early AODs were combated unlike in the past where they were handled using revised gear-train and valve body parts.

Now consider the following when trying to make your AOD better:

1. Choose the Right Aftermarket Parts

The right aftermarket parts will greatly determine the level of performance you get after building the AOD transmission. When done right, your transmission can take as high as 800 horsepower (hp) and even 1200 hp in some cases which translates into a dependable and rugged AOD.

It begins with your choice of the AOD-E or 4R70W geartrain which feature a wider Reverse drum and Overdrive band. These are able to handle the load that will be put on them even better.

You can take it one step further if you settle for the 4R70W since it can accelerate faster due to its better gearing. A durable 4340 chrome-moly input shaft should also be used since it can eliminate the input shaft breakage problems evident in stock shafts.

In the same vein, the “A” Overdrive servo should be selected in order to achieve greater Overdrive band clamping pressure.

2. Throttle Valve Cable Adjustment

The TV cable can either be adjusted using a pressure gauge or without one. Nonetheless, it is highly recommended to use the pressure gauge.

The pressure gauge should also be screwed into the line pressure port which is situated at the right-hand side of the transmission case.

If you’ve properly screwed the pressure gauge, then there should be a  0-5  Pounds per Square inch (psi) at idle speed, 30 psi at normal acceleration, and 85 psi of line pressure at wide-open throttle. When the speed is idle, it is expected that there should be no tension but slack tension on the TV cable.

On the other hand, if you had resorted not to use a pressure gauge for the installation, the cable tension should also not be slack.

As such, applying the shifter in gear should bring about a gentle engagement instead of a jolt. A test drive is necessary at this point starting with light acceleration and then a hard acceleration.

A light one should result in a firm upshift with an increase in speed while a hard one should produce firm but delayed shifts.

On the contrary, cable tension needs to be increased if slippage occurs in order to prevent the transmission from overheating and getting burnt.

3. Proper Installation of the Torque Converter

When it comes to the installation of an AOD, great care and attention have to be given to the torque converter installation.

The torque converter must be properly installed on the primary and secondary shafts, stator support and front pump rotor in order to prevent front pump damage and failure. Ensure that there are three moments that enable the converter to pop to the next position.

You can tell that the converter has been rightly placed when your hand can’t get between the bell housing and the converter.

4. AOD Adaptor and Conversion Kits

There are several AOD transmission adaptor kits for Ford applications.

Their purpose is to enable you to install an AOD transmission in your chosen vintage Mustang vehicle other than the 170ci and 200ci inline-sixes. AOD conversion kits also make it easier to install a Ford AOD in your vintage mustang. These kits will ensure that you get an efficient overdrive mounted in your ride in no time.

The AOD conversion kit, for instance, is packaged with TV cable, trans mount, 164-tooth flexplate, slip yoke, adjustable manual-shift linkage, and installation hardware.


You too can build the perfect AOD transmission today and it all begins with choosing between the AOD-E or 4R70W as an AOD core. There’s also the need to carefully select the right internal components since they will significantly contribute to the performance of your vintage machine.

Similarly, these installations will only be made possible with the use of AOD adaptor and installation kits which make your work much easier and result more productive.

200-4R vs. 700R4 Transmissions: A Comparison

200-4R vs. 700R4 Transmissions: A Comparison - Gearstar Performance

200-4R vs. 700R4 transmissions are two four-speed automatics that are always compared side-by-side for their similarities, yet unique differences. They may have been released in the 1980s, but where one fails the other makes up for it. It’s also worthy to note that the 200-4R vs 700R4 strength has been improved from what they were a couple of years ago.

They have been beefed up in every possible way to be a better replacement to any car that uses the TH350, TH400, or generally, a muscle car. Fuel economy for which they were launched for has been up by 30 percent based on their real-life operation.

However, the same level of performance may not be evident if you rely on the stock transmissions of either even though they are not as common as they used to be. Now that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at either transmission specs, problems, and selling point.

The 200-4R Transmission

The 200-4R transmission is one among several other transmissions manufactured by General Motors, an American multinational corporation based in Detroit. The transmission was launched in 1981 for the year’s model car and it is the lesser of the duo overdrive transmissions that were launched around the same time.

So, what cars came with a 200-4R transmission, let’s take a quick look:

    • KZ
    • 442
    • CZ Monte SS
    • OZ Hurst Olds
    • BR Grand Nationa
    • CQ Chevy 5.0L H.O.

The 700R4 Transmission

The Turbo Hydra-Matic 700R4 transmission was also manufactured by General Motors (GM) in 1982. It is also one of the first overdrive automatic transmissions launched by GM. The 700R4 transmission cars at the time were not limited to Corvettes, Camaro, Chevrolet, and pickup trucks.

200-4R vs. 700R4 Similarities

The 200-4R vs 700R4 similarities include the following:

1. Release Period

The 200-4R and the 700R4 transmissions were both released in the 1980s. At the time, there was a high need for cars with fuel economy and as such, the duo became the answer to the growing need.

2. TV Cable

The 200-4R and 700R4 use a Throttle Valve (TV) Cable or detent cable instead of the kick down cable that controls the TH350 and TH400 transmissions.

What a TV Cable does is to serve as a primitive throttle position sensor enabling either transmission to maintain the best RPM (revolutions per minute) possible for fuel economy and peak performance. It also enables them to shift smoother which allows a driver to switch between gear ratios seamlessly.

Nonetheless, there is still a 200-4R and 7004R transmission problems which have been pointed out time again. One of such stems from their TV Cable which has been said to be a bit finicky, thereby causing them to shift too hard, early or later than expected.

3. Overdrive

An overdrive is reputably known as a transmission’s highest gear. It enables the transmission to operate at a low RPM at any given road speed and as a result, it uses fuel efficiently and operates more quietly on the highway.

How does this relate to the 200-4R and 700R4? They also feature overdrive gears and they were notably the first GM automatic transmissions to feature such.

Today’s 4L60E finds its rooting from the 700R4 and like the latter, it has a .70:1 overdrive gear and basic design. The 200-4R, on the other hand, features a ratio of .67:1 which is known to be more aggressive and allow the engine to move 3 percent slower down a highway.

200-4R vs. 700R4 Differences

There are also unique differences between the 200-4R and 700R4 transmissions and some of these include:

1. Appearance

Is there any way of telling the 200-4R transmission from the 700R4 from the outlook? Definitely! You will need to rely on their pan bolt count and pattern.

It could be a little tricky in the aspect of the pan bolt count since the 200-4R vs 700R4 have the same number of pan bolts which is 16. However, the pattern or angle of the pan bolts is a dead giveaway as to which is which.

First, you need to count all the pan angles and if it is a 6 angled, then its definitely a 200-4R. On the other hand, it is a 700R4 if it has is equivalent to a 4 angled square. It also has a bigger pan and longer tail-shaft length than the 200-4R

2. Gearing

One of the most notable differences between either is in their overdrive gear. The 200-4R transmission has a .67:1 which is considerably more aggressive than the 700R4’s .70:1 overdrive gear. An overdrive gear of this nature on the 200-4R is equivalent to a low RPM when one is driving down a highway. Here’s a more precise breakdown of the overdrive gear ratios of both transmissions:

First Gear

    • 200-4R: 2.74
    • 700R4: 3.06

Second Gear

    • 200-4R: 1.57
    • 700R4: 1.62

Third Gear

    • 200-4R: 1.00
    • 700R4: 1.00

Fourth Gear

    • 200-4R: 0.67
    • 700R4: 0.70

The data above shows that the 200-4R’s 2.74 first gear is closer to the TH350 2.52’s first gear and even closer than the 700R4 (3.06). There is also the length of 27 11/16″, the width of 19 1/8″, and 27 spline output shaft being shared by both the TH350 and 200-4R. As a consequence, the 200-4R  is a better replacement to the TH350 in comparison to the 700R4.

Which Transmission Is Better?

Which is the better option between the 200-4R vs the 700R4 transmission can be determined by a number of factors and these are:

1. Purpose of the Car

The first obvious reason is the purpose the car will be put to. Is it for drag racing or street ride? If it’s for drag, then you’re better off with 200-4R thanks to the closeness of its gear ratios. There are, however, two limitations to the 200-4R in this aspect.

You’ll have to shift it manually as you race if not the shift points will be low. It is also expensive to find one that has been well-built. On the other hand, street use can be optimized with the 700R4 and as such, you’ll need this type for a street-worthy vehicle.

2. Aftermarket Support

Consideration is also to be given to which is more common in order to ensure that you can easily find aftermarket support in case you run into issues with the transmission. That being so, the 700R4 would be a better pick since it meets the criteria above.

3. Strength

A comparison of the 700R4’s first and second gear shows that there is a big difference between them. This results in a larger RPM drop in the gears in comparison to the 200-4R. There is also the longer nature of the 700R4 which requires certain modifications in order to cross member and driveshaft.

Conversely, the 200-4R can be made to be stronger than the 700R4. It is, however, worthy to note that the 200-4R is popularly known as the weaker of the 200-4R/700R4 pair.


The 200-4R vs the 700R4 transmission comparisons show their strengths and weaknesses as well as their similarities and differences.

Despite this, they are still a great choice of transmission if one is looking to increase the MPG (Miles Per Gallon) and reduce the RPM as the vehicle moves down the highway. Your choice of which should be determined by the use you want to put it to.

Nonetheless, the 700R4 takes it the extra mile by ensuring that while you have aftermarket support, the transmission’s life is also prolonged.

Nag1 Transmissions: 5 Things to Be Conscious Of

Nag1 Transmissions: 5 Things to Be Conscious Of - Gearstar Performance

Are you driving a car that uses the W5A580 automatic transmission or do you intend to buy one? Then there are certain things to be conscious of when using a Nag1 (W5A580) transmission.

Good knowledge about them will ensure that your transmission stands the test of time and serves you longer than you’d ever expected. In the same vein, there is an optimized level of performance to look forward to and all of this is wrapped around knowing the highlights and limitations of the W5A580 automatic transmission.

First off….

What Is an Automatic Transmission?

An automatic transmission is also known as a self-shifting transmission, an n-speed automatic or an auto. It is a car whose gear changes automatically on its own. As a result, there is no need for the driver to do so manually as would’ve been the case if a manual transmission is used.

In comparison to other transmission systems, an auto also allows the internal combustion engine which is best suited to run at a high rotational speed. The advantages of an automatic transmission include:

    • Improved shift comfort
    • Reduce fuel consumption
    • Increased reliability and service life

What Does Nag1 Mean?

Nag1 stands for “New Automatic Gearbox Generation 1.”

It is a family of transmissions that makes use of different marketing names such as W5A300, W5A380, and W5A580. The initials for these names in the case of W5A580 can be broken into:

    • W: A transmission that takes advantage of a hydraulic converter
    • 5: Five forward gears
    • A: Automatic transmission
    • 580: The maximum input torque capacity represented in Newton Metres

What Is the Nag1 (W5A580) Transmission?

The Nag1 (W5A580) is a heavy-duty 5-speed overdrive automatic transmission system with a lockup clutch in the torque converter. It is also known as a 5G-TRONIC transmission thanks to its torque converter lockup, 2-speed for reverse, and ability to support almost 600 lb-ft of torque. The system was designed by Mercedes-Benz, a Germany-based automobile company found in 1926.

Mercedes-Benz was once a part of the Chrysler family of companies and as such, the W5A580 was used in a good number of Chrysler products such as the Hemi engine which features a Challenger, Magnum, and Charger. This transmission can also be found in Mercedez V12 engine as well as their AMG high-performance vehicles. The same can be said about supercharged Jaguar applications.

Nonetheless, when you compare the W5A580 with some modern transmissions, it may be equivalent to comparing a fax machine to modern-day computers. The big difference is, the former struggles with speed while the latter offers seamless performance.

Things to Be Conscious of With the W5A580 Transmission

Like any transmission, there are pros and cons to it and the same can be said about the W5A580 Transmission. Its advantages and limitations are also some of the things you need to be fully aware of and they include:

1. Potential for water to enter through the dipstick tube

There is the problem of water entering the W5A580 transmission directly from the dipstick tube. This is the tube that enables you to check your engine oil accurately.

On the other hand, the potential for water to enter through the tube is often triggered by a defective O-ring, whose defection can lead to fluid leakage from the transmission. A solution that can combat the problem is to replace the O-ring with a new, upgraded O-ring which can be done by getting the car in the air to work on it, and then actually replacing the O-ring.

2. Sensitivity to the quality of transmission fluid used

The W5A580 transmission is extremely sensitive to the transmission fluid that is used within it. Even when there are tiny droplets of water (0.005 percent) in the fluid, the possibility for the transmission to shudder is high.

Now if you’re experiencing this shuddering already, you know that the culprit is the quality of transmission fluid you’ve used. A possible solution is to change the fluid and replace the internal filter which could help to remove any impurities such as fine debris and water in the near future.

For the filter it can use, an aftermarket external transmission filter would do just fine since this type of filter is built to be used alongside the factory internal filter. They are installed in one of the transmissions cooler lines and take advantage of a similar filter element that is comparable to those used in cleaning the engine’s oil.

3. Torque converter clutch problem

Another problem of the W5A580 transmission is its torque converter not holding correctly. The issue has been reported severally, and it can either be caused by a faulty clutch within the torque converter, faulty solenoid, or fluid contamination of the transmission. Despite this, it is not a widespread problem that should keep you on your toes.

4. Overheating due to abuse

W5A580 are used in high-performance cars which sometimes gives car owners the confidence that nothing can go wrong if they abuse the transmission. On the contrary, this is not always the case since the transmission could overheat, and if it does, it could lead to long term problems. Excessive heat, for instance, can destroy your transmission.

Facts About the W5A580 Transmission

Here are some facts about the W5A580 transmission:

1. Built to last longer

The W5A580 transmission has been built to last longer if it is given proper care. However, if it fails, then you can opt for a re-manufactured transmission which can serve as a better replacement in comparison to a rebuilt one.

This is because a re-manufactured transmission will always feature better modifications and upgrades in a bid to make them last longer. There’s also the advantage of an extended warranty either of which cannot be found in a rebuilt transmission.

2. Torque management system

The W5A580 transmission uses a torque management system whose aim is to enable the transmission to shift more smoothly.

3. Drive recognition software

W5A580’s Error Correction Mode (ECM) is programmed with drive recognition software. The purpose of the software is to aid in the customization of shift points depending on how the car braking system is used and how the user engages the gas pedal.

4. Stout transmission

The W5A580 can shift quickly and its gear ratios are spread out. As such, those who drive 600+ hp cars that are powered with the Nag1 can move swiftly. Even by today standards, it can still be said that this transmission comes with aftermarket programming that enables lightning-fast shifts.


These and many more are some of the things to be conscious of when using the Nag1 (W5A580) transmission. Keeping these things in check can ensure that your car’s engine does not break down especially when you need it.

It’s quite simple when you think about it since it revolves around carrying out the basics such as ensuring that the transmission fluid is of good quality and free from debris or water. Likewise, you need to have a filter that will ensure that there are no traces of either of these because if that happens, it could pose problems in the long run.

Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions for Off-Road Activity

Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions: Off-Roading - Gearstar Performance

Your choice between manual vs automatic transmissions for off-road activity is dependent on a number of factors. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, making it difficult to ascertain if a manual is better and faster than automatic, or if it is the other way round.

Let’s face it!

Stick-shifts may have been decades old, but they are still strong contenders with automatic 4x4s, which does not come as a surprise since they were the first around the block with a promise of beefed up engine.

That is why till today, there are still cars being designed with a manual transmission in order to meet the heart desire of car fanatics or off-road enthusiasts who will rather handle their own gears than trust the car to do it for them.

Similarly, in the world of off-roaders, there is also a debate as to which is a better option once you’re off the pavement. You’ll find performance lovers argue on the side of over shift speeds and lap times.

On the contrary, smoothness, traction, and control will be the advantages pointed out by automatic 4x4s lovers. But let’s take a look at each transmission and what it offers.

Manual Transmissions

Manual transmissions are also known as a stick shift or manual gearbox. It is a type of transmission that relies on a clutch that needs to be engaged or disengaged using the foot pedal or hand lever. The clutch also helps to regulate the transfer of torque from the engine to the transmission. There’s also the gear selector that can be used with the hand or foot.

Cars That Use a Manual Transmission

Some of the best cars that use a manual transmission are:

    • 2019 Subaru BRZ
    • 2019 Fiat 500 Abarth
    • 2019 Porsche 911 GT3
    • 2019 Ford Mustang GT
    • 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata
    • 2019 Honda Civic Type R
    • 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
    • 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Automatic Transmissions

Automatic transmissions can be called self-shifting transmissions or autos and as its name describes; it changes the gear ratios of a car automatically as it moves. This, therefore, takes away the need for the driver to do so manually.

Cars that Use an Automatic Transmission

Some of the best cars that use an automatic transmission are:

    • Tata Nexon
    • Toyota Yaris
    • Renault Kwid
    • Honda Amaze
    • Hyundai Verna
    • Maruti Suzuki Celerio
    • Maruti Suzuki Alto K10
    • Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza

What Is Off-Roading?

Off-roading is the process of riding a vehicle on roads or tracks whose surface is made of materials such as rocks, sand, gravel, mud, snow, river beds, etc. Leisure drives or competitions can be carried out on such unsurfaced roads using customized vehicles that have been specially built to handle the intensity.

Off-Road Manual vs. Automatic Transmission

There are off-roading differences between manuals and automatic 4x4s, which could pose the question of what’s more reliable between a manual and automatic.

But in the end, it depends on what you want and you’re out to get because each comes with a certain level of control.

Here’s what it looks like:

Manual Transmissions

Here are some reasons why a manual may be better for off-roading:

1. Knowing What to Expect

You always know what to expect with a manual since it allows for more controlled ascents and descents. In the same vein, there is a more direct engine braking and immediate on downhill stretches. There’s also the advantage of being able to select the right gear while on low-traction surfaces, which will eliminate wheelspin or dig your way out of snow or deep mud.

2. Manuals Are Fun

Now, where’s all the fun when the car is doing most of the work on your behalf? That’s definitely out the window, but with a manual, you can still have that knowing you were able to achieve a eliminate wheelspin all from your skills.

3. Manuals Handle Heat Better

This argument has arisen time and again and at some point, one may have to agree. It is the idea that manuals tend to handle heat better which is good for the car’s transmission in the long run.

The Downside of Manuals in Off-Roading

Manuals may provide more control while on ascents and descents, but they are not too good for lower-speed climbs or low-speed driving. Crawling usually requires that the car comes to a halt as the spotter tweaks the driver’s part.

However, crawling successfully with a manual means clutching in and then trying again to get started which could be bothersome

Automatic Transmissions

Here are some reasons why an auto may be better for off-roading:

1. Automatic Handles Most of the Work

Automatic off-road cars such as the Jeep Cherokee XJs do most of the work for you which allows you to concentrate on other aspects of off-roading. There’s no need to disturb yourself about how to operate the clutch and switch to just the right gear.

2. Ability to Start from the Top

One more thing to look forward to is the automatics’ ability to start from the top such as a hill. They are better at crawling from the top with a low speed which would’ve required you to slip the clutch in a manual.

3. Ability to Halt Completely

If you’re on a steep rocky ledge, there’s the advantage of using the automatic transmission since it will enable you to come to a complete halt. This is made possible without relying on the clutch, which is a huge benefit.

The Downside of Automatics in Off-Roading

While automatic transmissions are a better option for low-speed ascents, if you’re looking to climb the hill at a high speed or try sand dune driving, manuals would be a better choice. You can build speed while in a high gear at the base of the incline before shifting to a lower gear towards the top as momentum is lost.

It’s also worthy to note that heavy brake application is required while using autos for descents. The transmission may not allow a drive to lock into the first gear which brings about the possibility of the transmission switching into second gear while the drive is crawling down a hill.


After a comparison between manual vs automatic transmissions for off-road activity, it can be said that each comes with its pros and cons. You’ll agree that one cannot outrightly say the either is the best transmission for off-road activity over the other.

In the end, it comes to your personal preference, the level of control you desire, and what you’re out to get.

Do you want to do it yourself?


Do you want a transmission that will free you from some of the tasks while also being suitable for heavy rock crawling thanks to its slow and precise speed?

It’s left for you to decide and pick a transmission you’ll be proud of and ready to defend against those who settle for another option.